The opinions expressed in the May 31 Our View [Middle ground on IEPs] are fantastically uninformed. The author clearly has never had to deal with OPRF on this issue and simply thinks reason should prevail. If only it were simple enough for reason to prevail, it would be a great day for all. It is unfortunate that the federal government must legislate something you think is reasonable. You might find this hard to believe, but not all schools are reasonable, and they will only do the right thing because it is legislated. Twenty years ago, accommodations were not required and also not provided even though they would have been reasonable. Thirty years ago moderate to severely handicapped children did not even have the right to get a public education. It is reasonable today, and it was reasonable then, but it only happened through legislation.
You are correct in stating, “In many, but not all, cases it may serve a purpose to have a regular ed teacher present at an IEP.” Of the 550 IEPs at OPRF, there are about 50 where they may not be necessary as these students are either in a self-contained special ed classroom at OPRF or in a placement at another school because their disability is too severe for the high school to handle on site. My daughter is in the self-contained TEAM program, and there is no question that her special ed teachers attend the IEP. The regular ed teacher that the school brings to her IEP is her dean counselor. We find this ironic since my daughter is not in regular ed classes, nor does the dean teach at the school or even really know my daughter. It is the school’s way of complying with the law since the dean holds a teacher’s certificate. If my daughter was in a regular ed classroom and they tried to have the dean counselor as the regular ed teacher, would it be reasonable? No.
In the other 500 cases, in addition to serving a purpose, it serves the law. You might also think it reasonable that the special ed administration would ensure that all accommodations and supports required by these 500 IEPs would be implemented. Reasonable, and yet sadly wrong. It is why we have special ed laws and why they must be adhered to.
Why doesn’t OPRF want the teachers at the IEPs? It is not a money issue; there was a projected $15 million surplus in the education fund at the end of this school year (and that was before the levy increase). They could hire permanent substitutes to fill in.
Maybe the teachers just don’t want to attend the meetings and the special ed administration is trying to placate them. It doesn’t make any difference. OPRF needs to do what is right for the students, not what is reasonable to you.